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Tangerine Dream - Zeit CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.64 | 365 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The eclipse of time

During the formation of a black hole, gravity becomes so important that time ("Zeit" in German) accelerates until becoming infinite, thus not existing anymore. The cover art do not represent a black hole but a solar eclipse; "Zeit" is in fact an album about the absence of time. There is no such thing as electronic sequence, melodies or rhythms here, in fact all commonly known musical landmarks have disappeared. If we want to draw a comparison, it extends the ambient stellar approach of their previous "Alpha Centauri" epic, however softer, more mysterious and mastered, with less abrupt transitions. Here, TANGERINE DREAM definitely emancipate from their initial PINK FLOYD influences and even from usual musical boundaries to deliver their most radical and somber "kosmische musik" opus.

Entitled "Largo in 4 movements" (a largo is a music that must be played on a very slow tempo) and with a duration of more than 70 minutes, "Zeit" is supposedly the longest largo ever. Some people consider this record as the true birth of ambient, drone music or even post-rock. Jerome Froese's least appreciated TANGERINE DREAM, but best record ever according to Steven Wilson, this disc had a major influence for ambient artists such as Steve Roach.

First studio LP with the "golden" line-up Froese/Franke/Baumann, "Zeit" is a musical experience. The 19 years old Peter Baumann was then a young musician experimenting with his organ to create strange and unusual sonorities. He will stay in the band during five years.

"Birth Of Liquid Plejades" refers to one the most beautiful and luminous open star cluster at night. This opening track is a bit apart as it features guest musicians: four cellists, Steve Schroyder (ex-TD third member on "Alpha Centauri") on the organ, and, above all, POPOL VUH's leader Florian Fricke with his big modular Moog 3P synthesizer. Fricke was invited because he was one of the few artists in Germany who had such an innovative equipment. This composition can be divided in three parts. The first part features sinister cellos layers, pre-dating post-rock. The second marks the entrance of Fricke's big moog. His fast playing and sound contrasts with the calm ambiance and the overall spirit of "Zeit", which brings a particular colour to the music. This passage is just beyond spacey, and resembles no other composition of TANGERINE DREAM or even POPOL VUH. Cosmic magic! Then Steve Schroyder concludes the track with his organ. This last part has reminiscences with "Alpha Centauri", however in a smoother atmosphere. "Birth Of Liquid Plejades" may be Florian Fricke's last studio recording with the Moog, he will after turn to spiritual music and sell his big synthesizer to KLAUS SCHULZE.

The three other tracks are more coherent and features no guest members. With its various strange sinister sound effects, "Nebulous Dawn" is the darkest and most oppressive composition of the record. You're lost in the immensity of space, with threatening astral objects. "Origin Of Supernatural Probabilities" is quite an appropriate name, because if such probabilities ever exist, they have to be inside a black hole. The pretty beginning is calm and relaxing pretty. Music to contemplate infinity. It then becomes deeper, hypnotic and mystical. By moments, you'll perhaps perceive the origin of eternity here. The conclusion is soft, like the beginning. The title track may be the most ambient passage and my least favourite of the record. It contains some interesting obscure mysterious passages, but does not provide such deep immersion as the previous tracks for me.

The Esoteric 2011 CD edition contains a bonus disc featuring a remastered version of a show given at Cologne November 25th 1972 and an illustrated booklet. Entitled "The Klangwald Performance", the music is fully improvised, in the cosmic style of "Zeit". The sound quality is very good.

You have to be in a particular mood to fully appreciate "Zeit": alone, preferably in the dark, without parasite noises and thoughts. As you understood, this is no joyful, melodic, party or driving music. Not easily accessible, even for TD fans of the mid-70's "golden" era, you may hate it... or love it if you take the time. This is truly an immersive experience, that makes you lost in the depths of the interstellar void.

This opus is quite adventurous, the most radical in TANGERINE DREAM's discography. An essential listen if you're into experimental, ambient or drone music, and an unique album, out of time...

Modrigue | 4/5 |


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